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New European Bauhaus Prizes 2024

Shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and supporting life-cycle thinking

Rethinking waste through mycelium-based materiality
Revolutionising Urban Spaces with MYCOskin: Harnessing Nature's Genius! Discover our ground-breaking bio-architecture that transforms waste into wonder, using mushroom roots to create vibrant, sustainable cities. Join us in building a greener, cooler future - where fashion waste turns into eco-friendly valuable material, and where craftsmanship and technology meets ecology for climate-resilient, living urban landscapes. MYCOskin: Growing Tomorrow's Cities Today!
EU Member State, Western Balkans or Ukraine
Portugal- Centro (PT)
It addresses urban-rural linkages
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment (hard investment)
Prototype level
As an individual partnership with other persons/organisation(s)

The Lisbon Urban MYCOskin project at Praça Martim Moniz's Tram 28 stop showcases a circular industrial ecosystem and life-cycle thinking, embodying New European Bauhaus values. It emphasizes area regeneration, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity enhancement using bioreceptive biomaterials like mycelium composites.

Specific Objectives
- Circular Economy: Transforming agricultural and textile waste into resources with mycelium, in line with Lisbon's environmental plans.
- Urban Heat Island Mitigation: Design strategies for rainwater redirection and shaded structures to enhance air circulation.
- Urban Biodiversity: Using bioreceptive materials to create green spaces and support diverse life forms.
- Sustainable Design: Eco-friendly materials in public spaces, improving environmental impact and user experience.

Achieved Outcomes:
- Waste to Resource: Converted waste into sustainable materials, demonstrating a circular economy.
- Climate Resilient Design: Addressed urban heat island effect at Tram 28 stop with passive cooling and green infrastructure.
- Biodiversity Support: Created habitats to boost urban biodiversity.
- Enhanced Public Spaces: Improved tram stop aesthetics and functionality, serving as a sustainable urban model.

Mycelium's dual role as a natural binder and waste management agent offers ecological benefits. Its innovative use in fabrication techniques has led to architectural solutions that integrate living organisms into urban settings. This project enhances local well-being, promotes sustainability among urban entities, and shares knowledge on natural processes, setting a benchmark in urban sustainability.

The Urban MYCOskin project exemplifies sustainability by utilising mycelium, the roots of mushrooms, which has the capacity to upcycle agricultural and textile waste, into a biomaterial that can be used in an urban intervention. This approach aligns with Lisbon City Council’s environmental plans and the New European Bauhaus's eco-friendly practices. By utilising the framework of designing with and for nature, the project uses the enzymatic power of fungi to decompose and bind waste particles into a new biomaterial. Mycelium's growth consumes minimal energy, making it a sustainable alternative to energy-intensive materials like plastics or certain woods. The biomaterial production has a lower carbon footprint compared to synthetic materials and actively captures carbon dioxide during the growth stage,, further minimising environmental impact.

The project’s sustainability is further highlighted by its biodegradability; mycelium-based materials are fully biodegradable, turning into nutrient-rich biomass at the end of their lifecycle. This characteristic supports the global movement towards land regeneration, waste reduction and circular economies.

Moreover, Urban MYCOskin utilises various waste streams, including sawdust, agricultural byproducts, and textile waste, addressing the often overlooked impact of fast fashion. This waste utilisation not only reduces landfill contributions but also demonstrates a sustainable approach to material sourcing.

Urban MYCOskin stands as a model for sustainable architecture, showcasing how innovative material choices can lead to significant environmental benefits. Its integration of mycelium's natural properties and waste upcycling capabilities exemplifies a commitment to sustainable urban development, contributing positively to environmental goals and setting a standard for future eco-conscious projects.
The Urban MYCOskin project blends aesthetics and functionality in architectural design, aligning with both practical and visual appeal. This balance is achieved by considering project objectives, cultural context, and user preferences, creating spaces that are not only efficient and resilient but also aesthetically engaging.

Central to the project is the innovative use of mycelium as a biomaterial that is gaining public awareness and cultural acceptance. By integrating familiar forms into the design, such as the patterns of the Calçada Portuguesa, Urban MYCOskin reduces the unfamiliarity associated with living materials, making the design more relatable and harmonious. This approach bridges natural organisms with the built environment, enhancing the aesthetic and artistic qualities of the project.

In Lisbon's Praça Martim Moniz, the project transforms urban spaces into vibrant and inviting areas. It incorporates green spaces, shade, and noise reduction, creating comfortable environments in response to climate change and urban adaptability needs. The design also aims to attract tourists, thereby supporting the local economy and elevating the site's attractiveness..

The aesthetic value of mycelium is a key aspect of the project, emphasising its forms, material qualities, colours, textures, and proportions. The inclusion of living organisms adds a multi-sensory dimension to the space, engaging sight, smell, sound, and touch, and contributing to an emotionally resonant and sensory-rich user experience.

In conclusion, the Urban MYCOskin project is a showcase of integrating aesthetics with functionality in architecture. It goes beyond a mere bus stop design, envisioning intricate spaces where biohybrid materials evolve, demonstrating the potential to enhance urban environments through thoughtful and sensory-stimulating design.
The Urban MYCOskin project exemplifies inclusion in urban design, aiming to enhance accessibility and affordability for all users, including local residents, tourists, and those with mobility challenges. This initiative aligns with the 'design for all' principles, ensuring that the tram stop is not only functional but also universally accessible and welcoming. The project's design strategically features user-friendly layouts to cater to diverse physical abilities. In prioritising affordability, it utilises sustainable, locally sourced materials such as mycelium, demonstrating that eco-friendly urban development can be economically feasible, little energy intensive and accessible to various communities.

A critical aspect of meeting these inclusive objectives is the project's commitment to community engagement. It will represent a gathering space, due to its innovative and aesthetic characteristics, which will attract a diverse set of visitors. In this way, the user base is an integral part of the design process. This approach not only makes the tram stop more functional for its users but also fosters a sense of community ownership and inclusivity.

Furthermore, the Urban MYCOskin project serves as a model for new societal standards in urban design. It showcases how urban spaces can be transformed to prioritise inclusivity, sustainability, and community well-being. This project sets a precedent for future urban development initiatives, highlighting the importance of designing spaces that are not just environmentally responsible but also inclusive and beneficial for all segments of society.

The Urban MYCOskin project thus stands as an example of how urban design can foster more equitable and accessible environments for everyone, including non-human organisms, inviting multi-species environments where human beings coexist with nature in harmony and mutual support.
The initiative seeks to improve the broader urban environment for the surrounding community by promoting plant growth, supporting local biodiversity, enhancing air quality, and mitigating noise pollution. By establishing cooler, greener spaces, the project aims to provide enduring advantages for both mental and physical well-being, contributing to a healthier and more biodiverse urban landscape. Emphasising local needs, safety, and a sense of community ownership, the project's design encourages community engagement throughout the creation and maintenance processes, fostering interaction and exchange within the shared space.

To ensure a comprehensive and impactful approach, the project actively pursues partnerships with local entities such as Lisbon's municipality and urban waste management facilities. This collaborative network aims to engage a diverse range of contributors, creating a sense of community involvement on a broader scale. Aligning with Lisbon's Municipality Sustainability Agenda, the project focuses on waste recycling and public awareness, aiming to contribute positively to the city's environmental goals.

The involvement of citizens in various stages of the project is a key aspect. Initially, local residents play a role by discarding old clothes, which are repurposed in the creation of material. During the implementation phase, the community witnesses the growth of plants and experiences the seasonal transformations of the structure. Furthermore, the project serves as an educational platform, facilitating conversations about natural solutions for waste management and broader ecological restoration. This multifaceted engagement not only benefits citizens directly but also empowers them to actively participate in shaping and maintaining their urban environment.
Collaboration with the Lisbon Municipal Chamber is essential for this project. The municipality offers crucial support, especially by providing space for the project and fostering public awareness on sustainability. This involvement is key to creating an environment conducive to the project’s success.

The partnership with the Lisbon Municipal Chamber is central to the initiative. The municipality's support, particularly in providing necessary space and sparking discussions on sustainability, forms the foundation for the project's implementation.

Local mushroom producers significantly contribute by supplying materials and enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of the project. Their involvement not only advances the project but also strengthens connections with the local agricultural sector.

Entities focused on circularity and upcycling, particularly of clothes and agricultural waste, are vital to the project. Their participation ensures eco-friendly practices are integrated throughout the project's lifecycle.

Engagement occurs at various levels. The Lisbon Municipal Chamber’s local support includes space provision and community awareness. Local mushroom producers offer resources and expertise, improving functionality. Circularity-focused entities bring sustainable practices to the project on a regional level.

The diverse engagement of these stakeholders brings a wealth of perspectives and resources. Local entities provide practical insights, ensuring community relevance. Mushroom producers and regional stakeholders add specialized resources and expertise. This multifaceted engagement ensures the project’s success locally and on a larger scale.
The project comprises a trans-disciplinary team in a highly complex and interwoven set-up, combining areas of digital design, environmental analysis, biology and biotechnology with architecture. The form and functionality was informed by the environmental analysis and fabrication strategies, as well as mycelium growth conditions.

The design process involved a series of environmental studies to understand how to optimise the shape for human comfort, climate mitigation and plant growth. The information gathered from a series of solar, water and wind simulations was then applied into the overall shape of the design, allowing for the design of a climate resilient structure.

At the same time, the project bridges digital fabrication with computational design by integrating the requirements and limitations of the material and fabrication techniques in a parametric workflow. This allowed to analyse the project performance and design the panel patterns and sizes alongside their purpose. The main considerations were the creation of patterns for water redirection for plant growth, a gradient of material distribution throughout the panels, stretchiness of the fabric and overall shape for temperature control.

The biological growth of mycelium in a controlled environment and laboratory setting allowed to upcycle the textile and agricultural fibre waste into a panel infill. The understanding of the growth dynamics allowed to design a setting in which mycelium transforms soft fabrics into ridgid panels that could be fitted into the panels.

Every stage of the project combined knowledge from the mentioned disciplines, in an iterative process, that aimed to interconnect the gathered information thus, creating an innovative and scientific rigorous approach in the field of bio-integrated design.
The Lisbon Urban MYCOskin project stands as an innovative proposition within Living Architecture and Design, notably distinct from mainstream endeavours in the field. It ventures into the forefront of biologically grown materials, notably mycelium-based innovations, setting a new benchmark. What truly sets this project apart is its departure from conventional methods. Rather than imposing mycelium into predetermined structural shapes, it harnesses its unique capacity for waste decomposition, ushering in fresh solutions in material fabrication and application.

Driven by a transdisciplinary team merging digital design, environmental analysis, biology, biotechnology, and architecture, this project showcases a collaborative synergy rarely seen in traditional architectural projects. Urban MYCOskin transcends routine practices by not merely utilising mycelium as a building material but integrating it as a fundamental component of sustainable urban ecosystems. Its pioneering fusion of craftsmanship and robotic 3D printing in fabricating mycelium composites signifies a remarkable departure from standard architectural material use, showcasing its innovation.

Its innovative aspects include mycelium fabrication without plastic molds, utilizing scaffold as sustenance, incorporating textile waste for design flexibility, and integrating wood filament and 3D printing. Moreover, its holistic design vision combines circularity, biodiversity enhancement, consideration of the structure's entire life cycle, cultural aspects, resilience, and climate-responsive design. This amalgamation of scientific and architectural approaches, especially in bio-integrated public space design, distinguishes it from mainstream actions in the field, highlighting its exceptional innovative character.
The Urban MYCOskin project, distinguished by its innovative methodology, uniquely combines craftsmanship with advanced robotic fabrication, applying these techniques to mycelium material. This blend of traditional and technological methods allows for a nuanced approach, leveraging the precision of robotics alongside the artisanal quality of craftsmanship. The project employs a multiscalar perspective, ensuring adaptability from intricate architectural details to broader urban contexts.

A critical aspect of the methodology is a feedback loop system, which integrates digital design simulations of infilled panels, informed by environmental analysis, facilitating iterative refinement. This is complemented by extensive biology and material testing that extends beyond conventional lab experiments, exploring practical applications of mycelium in real-world scenarios.

Central to the design philosophy is the incorporation of natural growth and decay processes, aligning with organic life cycles for sustainable and holistic design. The methodology also entails adapting to various environmental and urban settings, ensuring the project's relevance and versatility.

Furthermore, the project embodies a novel architectural approach that considers both temporality and environmental factors. This approach is not just focused on achieving a zero-carbon footprint but also aims to enhance the natural environment, promoting ecological vitality.

The integration of craftsmanship and robotic fabrication in the Urban MYCOskin project represents a forward-thinking approach in architectural practices. This unique methodology not only maximizes the potential of mycelium materials but also ensures an effective, versatile, and aesthetically pleasing outcome. Positioned at the forefront of innovative architecture, the project dynamically addresses environmental challenges and contributes positively to urban ecosystems.

Urban MYCOskin is a versatile and highly customizable project, uniquely designed to be adaptable to various environments and contexts. Its foundation is built on environmentally informed data specific to a particular location, yet it possesses the inherent flexibility to be adjusted and applied to different settings. The project's core remains consistent across various scenarios, but the key to its adaptability lies in tailoring it to align with local biodiversity, plant life, and specific climatic conditions. This ensures that each implementation of Urban MYCOskin not only retains its foundational principles but also optimally supports environmental sustainability and urban greening specific to each location.

Replicable elements include the project's data-driven environmental analysis, which can be applied universally to gather site-specific insights, ensuring optimal adaptation. The use of mycelium-based materials, central to the project, showcases a universal application potential, adaptable based on local waste availability and climate. Furthermore, the integration of local biodiversity and customization to address specific climatic challenges highlight the project’s versatility. These aspects ensure that Urban MYCOskin can enhance urban ecology and address environmental issues relevant to diverse regions.

In essence, while Urban MYCOskin originates from a site-specific data approach, its methodologies, particularly in sustainable material use and biotechnological integration with architecture, offer a blueprint that can be modified for different ecological and urban settings. This adaptability makes it a valuable model for sustainable urban development, with the potential to be implemented effectively in a variety of global contexts.
The Urban MYCOskin project provides local solutions to global climate change challenges through innovative architecture. Climate change, marked by changes in temperature, precipitation, and wind patterns due to human activities, severely affects natural systems, leading to problems like flooding, droughts, erosion, water scarcity, and loss of biodiversity. In response, Urban MYCOskin utilizes mycelium, the root system of fungi, known for its sustainability and low-cost, low-energy production. Mycelium-based materials offer a sustainable alternative to traditional building materials, such as plastics and concrete, enabling local production that reduces carbon emissions and captures carbon. This contributes to a closed-loop production cycle, lessening the carbon footprint and playing a critical role in the carbon cycle by potentially sequestering carbon in both the soil and the mycelium.

This strategy supports several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including those focused on sustainable cities, responsible consumption, and climate action. By incorporating fungi into architectural designs, Urban MYCOskin enhances sustainability, diminishes environmental impact, and fosters resilient urban development.

In Lisbon, Portugal, a city facing significant climate threats like droughts, flooding, and extreme temperatures, Urban MYCOskin emerges as a relevant solution. The city is addressing challenges such as urbanization, air pollution, and the urban heat island effect through climate adaptation strategies, including the development of green infrastructure. The Urban MYCOskin project, especially impactful in areas like Praça Martim Moniz, aligns with these efforts, enhancing green spaces and air quality. This not only addresses environmental issues but also improves life quality for residents and visitors, aiding in the social and cultural rejuvenation of urban spaces.
To advance the Urban MYCOskin concept in the following year, several key steps are envisioned:

- Social Media Engagement: We'll create a dedicated social media presence to document and share the project's development, engaging a wider audience and building a community around the concept.
- Project Website Development: A specific website for Urban MYCOskin will be launched, offering detailed information, updates, and resources, thereby serving as a comprehensive information hub.
- Full-Scale Prototype Development: A 1:1 scale mock-up prototype will be constructed to demonstrate feasibility, allow for real-world testing, and provide a tangible showcase of the concept.
- Local Collaboration: Establishing partnerships with local suppliers will ensure a sustainable supply chain and contextual relevance of materials and services.
- Engaging Local Authorities: Presenting the project plan and proposal to local authorities will be crucial for obtaining necessary approvals and integrating the project into local sustainability goals.
- Community Workshops: Organising workshops and outreach programs will engage the community, provide education about the project, and gather valuable public feedback.
- Collaborative Ventures: We aim to collaborate with educational institutions, environmental groups, and industry experts to broaden the project's scope and depth.
- Pilot Project Implementation: A pilot implementation in a specific location will act as a practical test, allowing for adjustments and improvements based on real-world performance.
- Continuous Monitoring and Evaluation: A system for ongoing monitoring and evaluation will be set up to assess the project's impact and effectiveness, guiding future developments.

Through these strategic steps, Urban MYCOskin seeks to not only evolve its concept but also to foster community involvement, authority engagement, and collaborative partnerships, laying a foundation for innovative and sustainable urban development.
  • Portfolio_UrbanMYCOskin_Piorecka_Morais_Levy__.pdf
    (14,11 MB - pdf)